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Age of X

Age of X Assessment: Chapter 3

We talk with Mike Carey about Legacy on the run, the origins of the Moonstar Cadre and more

By Ben Morse


We have entered the Age of X.

From now through April in the pages of X-MEN: LEGACY, NEW MUTANTS and beyond, a strange and exciting new reality known as the Age of X will be introduced, with mysteries unfolding and a world where the X-Men never existed coming to light. After each chapter, we’ll have the event’s writer and mastermind Mike Carey here with us to discuss the latest revelations and will also preview art from the next exciting installment!

Something’s more than amiss in the Age of X.

Legacy believes she’s stumbled across some sort of conspiracy that permeates Fortress X and beyond. Magneto does not want what she’s learned getting out and has unleashed the ruthless Moonstar Cadre. It’s time for the rest of the would-be X-Men to pick sides or get caught up in the collateral damage.

X-MEN: LEGACY #246 cover by Leinil Francis Yu

We got writer Mike Carey’s insider angle on all this and more—including the latest on Wolverine, Basilisk, Gambit and others—from the pages of X-MEN: LEGACY #246, plus you can also check out Steve Kurth’s art from the next Age of X installment in NEW MUTANTS #23.

Marvel.com: What circumstances led to the group we know primarily as the New Mutants becoming the Moonstar Cadre in the Age of X? Why are these characters so much harder edged?

Mike Carey: I think what we're seeing here is one instance of a wider phenomenon.  Magneto seems to have organized his mutant troops into small squads, each with its own field commander. Probably this was his solution to the practical problem of having an "army" of only a couple of hundred people facing overwhelmingly superior forces—superior in number, I mean—every day.  When you're that heavily outnumbered, you can't really dictate the terms of the engagement.  You wade in and you do what you have to do; having these clusters of mutants with complementary powers, each of which can function autonomously when required, allows for the most flexible response to a range of threats.

So that's why Moonstar Cadre exists. As to why they're so tough and remorseless, I think that's what three years of fighting for survival does to you.  Each of them has laid their life on the line every one of those 1000 days, and the ability to step outside of the role of soldier is maybe something that slips away from you in those circumstances.  Having said that, these are still the characters we know, just distorted by different circumstances and experiences.  We haven't seen all of what they're about yet—we've just seen them in the field, obeying orders without question.  Keep watching.

Marvel.com: Why is Wolverine sympathetic to and willing to house Legacy when she’s been branded a traitor?

NEW MUTANTS #23 preview art by Steve Kurth

Mike Carey: Again, it's because he's the same man we know, responding to an altered status quo. It's fair to say that Wolverine's personality doesn't tend towards exaggerated respect for authority, or towards conformity for its own sake. He always questions the situation he's in, and he always follows his instincts, whether that leads him into trouble or not. In this case, Legacy is a friend, she comes to him for help, and he's not going to turn her down automatically because she's been labeled a traitor.  He'll at least hear her out.  And of course, as he says to Basilisk at the close of the issue, he's already got his own doubts about what he sees happening in Fortress X.  "Too many things around here smell like lies..."

Marvel.com: How come Moira MacTaggert is permitted to live within Fortress X when she’s not a mutant? Moira also seems to have a due bit of influence here, speaking to Magneto as she does—is there more to Moira than meets the eye?

First question first: she's allowed to because she's a friend to the mutant cause who's done a lot, as in [the Marvel Universe], to help mutants come into and control their powers.  Also because it's the Human Coalition, first and foremost, who are the separatists, not the mutants.  Maybe some mutants feel that Moira hasn't earned her place in the Fortress, but more would accord her respect both because of her own achievements and because of her relationship to Legion, who as one of the Force Warriors is a hero in his own right.

Is there more to Moira than meets the eye?  You mean, because she seems to describe herself as a mutant in that scene, or just because she presumes to speak to the General in such a forthright way?  Could be just her own headstrong nature showing through. Could be something more.

Marvel.com: Is this the first we’re hearing of there being “no mutant powers that can affect the mind”?

NEW MUTANTS #23 preview art by Steve Kurth

Mike Carey: It's the first time it's been explicitly stated, yeah.  But the absence of telepaths among the Fortress X troops—and their presence in the brig—has been noticeable.

Marvel.com: Magneto threatens Madison Jeffries pretty openly here—what does that say as far as his character and how it compares with his traditional counterpart?

Mike Carey: I'd say Magneto has always had that kind of ruthlessness in his nature.  Sometimes he reins it in, sometimes he just lets it off the leash, as here.  It was meant to be a disturbing scene, and to remind us of that side of Magneto's history and personality.  This is the guy who once—in canon—killed a man just to prevent his real name from being revealed.

Marvel.com: While most of the Moonstar Cadre are classic New Mutants members, Dust is the exception—is there a reason to include her with them or do you just like the character?

Mike Carey: It was a combination of things. I like the character; I wanted someone to replace Cannonball; I wanted to mess with the line-up just to keep things interesting, and I thought it would be cool to showcase a really bad-ass version of Dust.

Marvel.com: Is Eclipse the character we know as Sunspot? If so, why the name change?

Mike Carey: Yeah, he is.  I changed a few names, mostly just to keep hitting the point that this isn't our world and that the characters have been shaped by different events and different pressured.  Their choosing different names is a very small reminder of that.

Marvel.com: How did Cannonball not being a more direct part of their lives influence the Moonstar Cadre? Did it? Would he perhaps have tempered them more towards the characters we know?

NEW MUTANTS #23 preview art by Steve Kurth

Mike Carey: I honestly hadn't asked myself that question, but yeah, now that you say it, it makes a lot of sense.  We've seen in the AGE OF X ALPHA issue that this Sam, like our regular Sam, is a guy of huge integrity, compassion and—I hate this phrase, but I'll say it anyway—emotional maturity. "Give me that man that is not passion's slave..."  He probably would have had an influence, certainly on how Moonstar Cadre carries out their duties and probably in a deeper sense on their personalities.

Marvel.com: Will we learn more about why Gambit sided with Legacy or did he just go with his gut?

Mike Carey: It's definitely a spur-of-the-moment, instinctual thing.  Whether it reflects anything deeper is an open question.  We don't explicitly answer that, or at least not for a good while yet, so for now you have to make your own mind up.  Were Rogue and Gambit always meant to be, to the point where even without any depth of acquaintance or intimacy, the one will always side with and protect the other?  Or is this a buried memory surfacing, as when Legacy met Professor X?

Marvel.com: Why is it that Wolverine and Basilisk/Cyclops seem to be the first—aside from Legacy—to get an inkling that something’s not right with this reality? Is it a testament to who they are in the classic universe, or are they both just so downtrodden in the Age of X they’re more willing to believe in the possibility of something better?

Mike Carey: I wouldn't call either of them downtrodden, exactly.  Basilisk isn't acting as leader, but then he doesn't seem to have tried out for the job, or to want it.  Wolverine is depowered, but he's still very much his own man.  So I'd say it's the former: these are among the strongest-willed characters in the X-verse, and therefore among the least likely to give their consent to a situation just because it's a fait accompli.  They will ask the hard questions—and of course they're not alone in that.

The next chapter hits on March 23 with NEW MUTANTS #23, and we’ll be back to discuss it soon after!

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      yeah Boom Boom would be fun in AOX. Plotwise most of everyone who seemingly just popped up for AOX are just there to be there.


      I wonder if I am alone in having trouble jumping into Age of X? Part of the problem for me, I think, is that I still think of Uncanny X-Men as the flagship & if it is not happening there, I really do not care that much...Either that or @amsterdamx is absolutely right! what Age of X needs is Boom Boom! How did I not think of that sooner.


      Because Hope is what the x-men are all about now and Emclops. All stories will evolve around them.


      What really Drive me Mad as an X-Men reader since the early 90s is that they never use my favorite character (Who thanks to her is the reason why I start to read X-Men and spend all my money on Marvel) Tabitha Smith (Boom Boom) I don\'t know what the... Is wrong!!! You guys totally not use her as she deserve in the X-men or she was not even used in Age of Apocalypse, now you guys let her out of Age of X as well????There are bunch of complaints about it in Comicvine website and other website related to the character!!! Its so unfair, I\'m done with you Marvel!!!!